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Tuesday 31 August 2010

I Just Want To Lay On This Block Of Ice

Superb blast of garage rock by John Dwyer's Thee Oh Sees, from their The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending The Night In album from a couple of years back. Any of their stuff is worth spending some time with.



Some lo-fi, garage rock goodness for you this lovely Tuesday. Ty Segall is from San Francisco, and plays either on his own or as part of a three piece. Simple rhythms, overloaded acoustic guitars, muddy vocals- gutter punk stuff, similar to Thee Oh Sees or Black Lips.

Last day of August. End of summer. Back to school.



Monday 30 August 2010

Pressure Drop A Drop On You

Pressure Drop, by Toots And The Maytals, is one of the great reggae songs, and was covered in brilliant rock reggae style by The Clash (b-side to the English Civil War single). Neither are the version posted here on this Bank Holiday Monday evening- this version of Pressure Drop is by The Specials, and before you scratch your heads and go checking your original Two Tone vinyl album tracklists, this wasn't done by a version containing either Terry Hall or Jerry Dammers. In 1996 a rump version of The Specials led by Neville Staple, and joined by Lynval Golding, Roddy Byers, Horace Panter and a host of other folk released an album called Today's Specials. Neville Staple has carried on gigging and recording throughout the 80s and 90s, and was always including Specials and covers songs in his sets. So the recent reformation (albeit without Jerry) wasn't the first time the band had reformed, or partially reformed. Anyway to get to the point, they covered Pressure Drop, and while it's not as gloriously ragged as either the Toots or Clash covers, it's good and sounded great wafting around earlier, with this late summer sunshine we've enjoyed today.

Friday 27 August 2010

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 26

Back after a fortnights absence this week's rockabilly action comes from Dublin courtesy of Imelda May. She's done Later With Jools Holland and supported all kinds of big bands (big as in famous rather than big as in Glen Miller), but we won't hold either against her. I got this free on a magazine cd recently, and it's definitely got the rockabilly spirit and sound. She's a sneaky freak mind...

04 Sneaky Freak.wma

Live And Direct From My Living Room

After the end of Big Audio Dynamite Mick Jones formed a band with mate Tony James (formerly of Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik), and started off making guitar and sample based punk-riff-rock, distributing everything for free over the internet. I saw them at some point at Night And Day, good fun, very hot and sweaty, no Clash songs, but a good night out. By 2007 the songs had sharpened up and they issued a cd album The Last Post, with a cover featuring a load of the memorabilia Mick has collected over the years, and is now displaying in his mobile rock 'n' roll museum. Bring it up North Mick! This song, Why Do Men Fight?, was the closer to the album and the best, a cool guitar riff, driving bass, four to the floor drumming, and Mick's meditations on the nature of blokes and why they can't help punching each other- 'religion, race, colour, creed, law, jobs, drugs, whatever'. Alcohol, girls and football seem to be missing from the list but hey, this is a good, simple song, great when played loud in the car.

We're off camping for the Bank Holiday, despite the mixed weather forecast and below average end-of-summer temperatures. Brave or foolish? Time will tell. Don't worry, the rockabilly's all set up for later. Have a good weekend.

12 Why Do Men Fight-.wma

Thursday 26 August 2010

I'll Sell My Guitar And Never Look Back

Arab Strap guitarist Malcolm Middleton released a solo album in 2005 called IntoThe Woods. This song Break My Heart was the opening track and a single. Set to soaring, uplifting, guitars and strings backing it contains some of the most jaundiced and bleakly honest lyrics I've heard.

'You're gonna break my heart and I know it
But if you don't
You're gonna break my unhappiness and destroy my career
I'd rather feel full than sing these shit songs
I'll sell my guitar and never look back'

Later Malcolm ratchets up the long, dark night of the soul with

'If I don't have you I'm condemend to sing shit songs
I'll fuck my guitar and drink myself to death
I don't want to sing these shit songs anymore'

Sung in his strong Scottish accent against such a great song musically, totally believable and totally honest, caught in the bind between his art, his view of his art, and his personal life.

01 Break My Heart.wma

Burmese Days

Mission Of Burma were an American post-punk band, a three piece guitar band with a fourth member, Martin Swope, who played 'tapes', which sounds pretty cool and very post-punk. Inspired by punk they tried to stretch it and change it with tempo changes, strange chord progressions, being a bit arty and unconventional, and with the aforementioned tapes. This song, That's When I Reach For My Revolver, came out in 1981 and is probably their best known, and is a thrilling blast of post-punk energy. They split up in 1983 partly due to one of them having tinnitus, although they did reform a few years ago

I'm looking at the case for this cd (a re-issue) and remembering in a flash I bought this in HMV in Richmond, posh south London, land of The Rolling Stones. We were there several years ago for the wedding of Mrs Swiss' best friend, and I'd been asked to do the record playing for the reception. Transporting myself, Mrs Swiss (unknown to us just pregnant with child number 2, so feeling a bit off colour), wedding clothes etc, record playing gear and records, to London from Manchester in a Fiat Punto, having left child number 1 with grandparents made the whole thing a mad rush. We had a couple of hours in Richmond, wandered round, bit of lunch, bought Mission Of Burma cd, all very pleasant. The ceremony and reception were in Richmond Park, I think in what used to be a hunting lodge, with fantastic views over south London. As I set up the gear for the disco the venue manager informed me there was a decibel reader above the bar. I could see it flashing green. If the music got too loud, the display would flash red and then cut the sound out for ten seconds. As you can imagine this was inevitable, and I tripped it three times, once during the brides' only request (Ms Dynamite) and the third time, towards the finale of the evening, during Iggy's Lust For Life. The really funny thing was when the sound cut out, people would continue dancing to silence for a couple of seconds, then stand still and look around, and then give an almighty cheer as it came back on, slightly lower in volume than before. At which point I'd gently (or not so gently, depending on alcohol intake) shove the fader up and watch the lights edge closer to the red. The other disco points of note were a bloke pestering me to play Doug Lazy's Let It Roll promising a group of dancers if I did, and the bride's sister standing right in front of the decks with her arms folded, scowling at me for a good ten minutes. Happy days. Strange but wonderful how looking at the cover of this Mission Of Burma cd brings it all back.

01 That's When I Reach for My Revolver.wma

Flipping Heck

Bleepy, dubby, low-key, electronica from Nightmares On Wax (Warp Records, 2006's In A Space Outta Sound). Nightmares On Wax is Leeds DJ and producer George Evelyn, who as well as making top records has a good line in hats.

03 Flip Ya Lid.wma

Wednesday 25 August 2010

More Audrey (Thrice)

While I'm on a roll, from 1995, Fun-Da-Mental remixed by Weatherall's Sabres Of Paradise. According to wiki Fun-Da-Mental are a 'multi-ethnic, hip hop, ethno-techno, world fusion music group...with an outspoken political stance'. Strange to think that this kind of thing was all the rage in the mid-90s.

04 Mother India [Sabres Of Paradise Sabres At Dawn Remix].wma

More Rare Audrey

From 2006, Weatherall's remix of Darlin', by the ungoogleable XX Teens. I know little about the band, other than they changed their name from Xerox Teens after a threat of legal action, they were on Mute, and there was a 12" single with two Weatherall remixes, this mix and a dub. Thinking about it now that I've gone to the trouble of uploading this, the dub might be better. I'm not sure I like this too much to be honest, but given that sharing rare Weatherall tracks is part of Bagging Area's core business I thought you should have it.


Rare Audrey

Some Andrew Weatherall for you on an August Wednesday morning, where at the moment it's not raining. This is the Two Lone Swordsmen remix of Paul Weller's Heliocentric, from his album of the same name, from 2000. Not one of his best albums I'm afraid. The remix is one of TLS's best though, and was only released on white label (500 copies I think, got my sticky mitts on one in Vinyl Exchange for under a fiver). Rumour has it that Weller didn't like it and it's never had an official release, not even on that 3 cd boxset of b-sides, remixes and other stuff that Weller put out a few years back.

I love this track, and it's best listened to loud. It takes the drums and bass, and a load of noises, and heads into krautrock territory, with a dash of Killing Joke in there as well. Can't imagine why Weller didn't like it. Several years ago a friend in a band once asked me to play records at a gig they were doing, and they'd hired a large PA. Sticking this record on made my night. It sounded immense. It does what a remix should do, take the original and bend it out of all recognisable shape, making something new from something old.

Tuesday 24 August 2010


One of the most visually interesting things about The Specials was the brass section, who looked like two old men compared to the frantic collection of rude boys, ex-mods, rockers (and Terry Hall), charging around at the front (or moping around at the front). Rico Rodriguez and Dick Cuthall looked older but just as cool looking back at them now, and on vinyl (or cd or mp3) they sound great. Rico had his own band and in 1980 recorded this single, which came out on Two Tone but failed to chart. The Specials often covered this themselves, and I think recorded it for a Peel Session. Anyway, time to skank about for a bit, in the privacy of your bedroom, frontroom, kitchen or wherever it is you listen to music. Not in the car though, especially if you're driving...

10 Sea Cruise.wma

I Don't Want To Live My Life Like Everybody Else

A couple of Sundays ago BBC4 showed Ray Davies' set from this year's Glastonbury, where in a masterstroke of scheduling he was up against England playing in the World Cup. Luckily he's armed with some of the best songs written by one man, and knowing how poor England were the crowd that opted for Ray made the right decision. It was a greatest hits set with a huge choir joining him for several songs, and despite the band being a bit ploddy in parts Ray was on fire, the frontman England didn't have. I can live without the whole notion of 'classic rock', the greatest songwriters ever lists, the constant mythologisation of the 1960s, and all that nostalgia driven rock industry, but the set was a joy to watch.

He didn't play this song (it wasn't on the programme if he did) but it's one of The Kinks' best and firmly in the tradition of great bands chucking out great b-sides. It's also a brilliant outsider song, and maybe like See My Friends and the much more well known Lola an outsider song in terms of sexuality as well.

02 I'm Not Like Everybody Else.mp3

Monday 23 August 2010

Well, Most Of All Nothing Much Ever Really Happens

Nick Cave is back next month with his heavily bearded, heavily laced with black humour, heavy blues guitar monster machine Grinderman. This is good news. Some of Nick Cave's records, from The Birthday party to The Bad Seeds to Grinderman are amongst the finest late 20th century/early 21st century stuff there is. And some of his piano ballads can go on a bit. His recent stuff (Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus from 2004, Dig Lazarus, Dig!!! from 2008 and the first Grinderman album have all been high points. Even if I've never loved the entire album from start to finish they've all had some great songs- We Call Upon The Author (DLD!!!), No Pussy Blues (Grinderman) and this one Get Ready For Love (AB/TLOO) for starters. Supercharged punk gospel this one, co-written with the Grinderman boys. Top stuff.

The Grinderman single and album are released in September. At grinderman.com you can buy the single on 12" red vinyl with a poster and a different version of the single with guest guitar solo from Robert Fripp. If you give them your email they'll let you download the radio edit of Heathen Child for free. If you then get on over to Moggieboy's Ripped In Glasgow blog (link to the left in the blog list) you'll find the eagerly anticipated and very, very good Andrew Weatherall remix of Heathen Child (also free, but less legal). Finally, if you're not at work you should have a look at the video which features Grinderman dressed as all sorts including Greek heroes, a wolf, hairy monsters, various Gods, lots of facial hair, nudity (male and female), laser beams coming out of eyes and other orifices and a girl in the bath.

01 Get Ready for Love.wma

Move Your Body To The Rhythm Of Love

Stylistically a complete turnaround from today's earlier postees McCarthy, and I can't think of anything to say about this 1991 hit from Wrexham's premier dance outfit K Klass, other than it's a great homegrown house record and it puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it. I know some of you come here for the rockier stuff and some of you come here for the dancier stuff and I keep randomly veering between the two, and that's just the way it is, as Steve Winwood once said.

Rhythm Is A Mystery [Remix].mp3

Should The Bible Be Banned?

Described by Nicky Wire as 'communism with tunes' McCarthy were Stereolab man Tim Gane's first band, releasing three albums and numerous singles in the mid-to-late 80s. This one, Should the Bible Be Banned?, is one of their best- shimmering guitars and a satirical lyric asking if the murder of Abel by Cane would inspire copycat killings, at a time when the tabloid press asked the same question but about TV and film rather than the bible. There's a nice compilation album That's All Very Well But... which is worth getting if you can find it (or you can download it from emusic).

McCarthy_02_Should The Bible Be Banned.mp3

Sunday 22 August 2010

Release The Bats

Your honour, I'm not and never have been a goth, but like most 80s subcultures there was something going on that is worthy of credit. Exhibit A, the 12" version of Bela Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus. Please note the scratchy post-punk guitars and bass and drum work reminiscent of The Bunnymen, and the ludicrous but praiseworthy vocal by Mr Murphy. I believe he is the one with the cheekbones. This may be gothic m'lud but it is also art. Fields Of The Nephilim? The Mission? No Your Honour, but Bauhaus, certainly. The defence rests.

Bela Lugosi s Dead.mp3

Saturday 21 August 2010

Belas Knap

One of the highlights of holidaying in the Cotswolds was visiting a multitude of historical sites in the area- two Roman villas, a ruined Medieval Cistercian Abbey, an abandoned country pile used during World War II as an RAF radar development centre, a couple of castles, and two prehistoric burial chambers. This one is Belas Knap, on top of a hill a few miles outside Cheltenham. I'm not a new age hippy, and don't celebrate the solstice but there's something about burial chambers and barrows which fascinates me.

This being prehistoric burial chambers the obvious candidate for a musical track is one from Julian Cope, whose The Modern Antiquarian book may be his greatest accomplishment, although Head On and Repossessed are more fun. This is Safesurfer but not the version on Peggy Suicide. This is from the 1991 tour only 7" single, which was obviously pretty rare. Before ebay and cd re-issues with extra tracks and blogs like this one.


I Don't Want To Go Insane

Back from a very pleasant week away and this song has been digging it's way into my head all week, due to it soundtracking the adverts for This Is England '86 on Channel 4. The first digital reggae track, and this being Jamaican reggae there are copious stories and legends about it- apparently there are over 180 versions of Wayne Smith's Under Me Sleng Teng, and it may or may not be based on Eddie Cochran's Something Else (which featured in Bagging Area's Friday Night Rockabily series some time back). I'm no expert on modern reggae in any way, but this is a tip top track.

Wayne Smith - Under Me Sleng Teng.mp3

Friday 13 August 2010

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 25

By the time you read this my family and I shall be on holiday, cottaging in the Cotswolds (not that sort of cottaging, honestly, you lot and your filthy minds), and there'll be no posts until next Friday at the earliest. Feel free to leave comments in my absence though, I may try to check in on my phone. A bit sad that isn't it.

The Stray Cats were going to have to feature somewhere in this series, being the popular face of the 80s rockabilly revival. Lead Stray Cat Brian Setzer is pretty highly regarded in the US still today, where he has an orchestra. I think Joe Strummer wrote a song for him at some point in the late 90s, though I don't have it. Anyway, strut on...

Stray Cat Strut.mp3

Elevator Music

Which one was your favourite?

Before tonight's rockabilly let's have some more machine music, this time with 808 State. Lift was a single from their 1991 Ex-El album, which also featured guest appearences from Bjork and Bernard Sumner. This is the 12" version of a track that was one of the peaks of that album, a lovely piece of laid back, Kraftwerkian, retro electronica. As a reviewer on Discogs has it- 'uplifting music and lift music'.


Thursday 12 August 2010

What That Dorky Chick Got Wouldn't Satisfy A Cheesestick

It's the third Blog Rocking Beats this Saturday evening at The Flying Duck, so if you live in the Glasgow area get yourself down. Drew from Across The Kichen Table (who's arranged the whole thing) repeated his invitation to me to co-dj but we've had hospital appointments and now we're going away for a week so I won't be making it. Also, there's four of them playing records at this one (Drew, JC, ANCB and Gareth) so there's already many hands on decks. Maybe I should do a Bagging Area night round here and get a guest or two in. Hmmm...

If I was there I like to think I might've played this seminal house track- perfect,crisp machine drums, one finger keyboard playing and great vox, including the spoken breakdown bit with the bizarre insult I've used as the title for this post. This is an utterly great track.

You Used To Hold Me (Kenny 'Jammin' Jason & Fast Eddie Smith Mix) - Ralphi Ro.mp3

Hey Joe Where You Going With That Gun In Your Hand?

Bagging Area favourite Joe Strummer again, to follow the previous post. This is an instrumental song, War Cry, which Joe Strummer contributed to John Cusack's hitman rom-com Grosse Point Blank. It was recorded during Joe's briefish songwriting partnership with Richard Norris of The Grid (which gave us the fantastic Yalla Yalla). This is dancey, and listening to it I think you can work out which bits are Joe and which bits are Richard Norris. Interesting to contrast it with the lyrics and tone of The Minstel Boy, both songs being in some way about war.

War Cry.mp3

Wednesday 11 August 2010

In The Ranks Of Death You'll Find Him

Out of nowhere I thought about Joe Strummer earlier today and realised it's nearly eight years since he died, and felt a pang of sadness. I've never felt as affected by the death of any famous person as I did by Joe's. I've featured several Clash/Strummer oddities and rarities here at Bagging Area but there's a few more to go round.

Joe's post-Clash back catalogue is pretty messy. Some stuff is out of print, some hard to get hold of, some pretty much unknown. Before his three albums with the Mescaleros and his late 90s comeback Joe got involved with several soundtracks. He worked with director Alex Cox providing the drum machine heavy Love Kills to Sid And Nancy, wrote the score for Walker, and several songs for Straight To Hell (among them the excellent Evil Darling and Ambush At Mystery Rock). Joe contributed a song to the soundtrack of Grosse Point Blank, several to Permanent Record, and an unreleased score for When Pigs Fly.

The track here is The Minstrel Boy, an Irish folk song based on the events of the failed 1798 rebellion, and came from the film Black Hawk Down. Those readers who own Joe and the Mescaleros' Global A Go-Go lp will know that the album closed with an eighteen minute instrumental version of this song. This version is over in just under six minutes and features possibly the best vocal he ever got on tape in his solo years. Stirring stuff.

Excuse me, I think I've got something in my eye.

The Minstrel Boy.mp3

I Don't Want To Be Nice

Some more bile for you.

I was planning to post this anyway, but after spending the last five hours at the Manchester Childrens' Hospital waiting for a CT Scan with a special needs 11 year old who hasn't been allowed to eat since yesterday, only to be told that the scan won't happen because they're an anaesthetist down today, well, I don't want to be nice. Not that it's anyone's particular fault.

The bard of Salford, the punk poet, Nico's flatmate, Manchester Dylan lookalike... Mr John Cooper Clarke, originally from the Disguise In Love lp (geddit). This song features Martin Hannett at the controls and playing bass. In case you were wondering.

04 I Don't Want to Be Nice.wma

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Do You Know How I Hate You Baby?

Let's have some bile.

The first time I heard about The Monks part of me thought they were some Bill Drummond style prank. Five American G.I.s stationed in Germany form a beat/garage band, wear monks black habits and shave their hair into tonsures, play basic, fuzzy proto-punk using heavy and simplistic rhythm, with a banjo player, singing about how they hate you, at the dawn of the peace and love 60s. It all sounded too good to be true.

I hate you baby (but call me)
Well I hate you with a passion
Do you know you make me hate you baby?
and so on...

There's more, much more. If you havn't got the Black Monk Time lp then get out and get it from somewhere, and check out the footage of them on German TV on Youtube. One of the best blasts of 60s garage rock.


Monday 9 August 2010

How Can You Sleep On A Mattress Of Wire?

Aztec Camera's Roddy Frame is the indie hero who has kept this status despite recording some deeply slick and commercial music over the years, notably during his stay at WEA. At first though he was on Postcard where he released two singles before jumping to Rough Trade where he had the perfect 80s indie hit Oblivious. Roddy has said he will never have the Postcard singles released on CD, which appeals to the purist in me, if not the have-everything-on-one-disc collector in me. This is Mattress Of Wire, his second single on Postcard, which tends to go on ebay for about a tenner. Good value if you ask me. In a link to today's Rockingbirds post when Edwyn Collins toured following his recovery from three life threatening illnesses a few years ago, Roddy was on guitar. On the night Mrs Swiss and I saw them at Manchester Academy 2 Roddy was blistering, in a non-guitar hero kind of way, especially during the solo in A Girl Like You.
What's particularly stunning about this song, Mattress Of Wire, is that it was written, recorded and released by a teenager.

Camden Cowboys

Last week I posted Jonathan Richman's Roadrunner. Here is a tribute to the man from Camden cowboys The Rockingbirds. Signed to Heavenly Records The Rockingbirds released several fondly remembered singles (A Good Day For You Is A Good Day For Me, Gradually Learning, this one Jonathan Jonathan) and a couple of albums in the early 90s before splitting in 1995. Their second album was produced by Edwyn Collins and one of the guitarists has been part of Edwyn's recent touring band. The Rockingbirds missed the U.S. alt-country boat of the mid-to-late 90s by some distance. Too country-ish and not glum enough probably. They reformed last year following the inevitable two disc re-issue of their first album.


Sunday 8 August 2010

I Feel Like More Than Just A Number

Back in the late 80s there was a brief rash of tribute albums. Usually British and US indie/alternative acts recorded covers by a 60s artist, with mixed results. There was a Byrds one, a Hendrix one and a couple of Velvets ones (which included an pre-fame Nirvana cover). The best/only good one was The Bridge- a Tribute to Neil Young. As well as the song featured here it had Nick Cave, The Flaming Lips, Dinosaur Jr, Pixies, Loop, Soul Asylum and Psychic TV (who did a Balaeric cover of Only Love Can Break Your Heart before St Etienne did). This song may have been the pick of the bunch though- Sonic Youth doing Computer Age.

Typically contrary and wilfully obscure, given all of Neil Young's back catalogue to have a go at Sonic Youth chose to tackle a song from Trans, Neil's massively uncommercial, completely misunderstood and (to his rock audience) bizarre synth and vocoder album from 1982. Not known at the time Trans came out of Neil attempting to communicate with his disabled son using the vocoder. Neil also frequently tried to sidestep either his audience or record company or both. With Trans he did that with knobs on.

Coming off the back of their 1988 sprawling classic Daydream Nation Sonic Youth take a synthy/vocoder song and do what would have happened if Neil had recorded it with Crazy Horse- turn the guitars and amps up and kick the living daylights out of it.

Computer Age.mp3

Saturday 7 August 2010

Saturday Morning Is Weatherall Remix Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night

Here it is, the Weatherall remix of yesterday's V.V. Brown track from 2008, Stripped back to mainly bass, drums and funny noises and bought on 10" vinyl, one of my favourite novelty formats.

Crying Blood - Weatherall Remix.mp3 - 4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download

Friday 6 August 2010

Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 24

V.V. Brown was tipped as one to watch the year before last, especially prior to the release of this single, Crying Blood. Striking looking, twelve foot tall, and with a bucket of rockabilly, doo-wop and 50s/60s influences this is sunny, rockabilly-inspired pop, crossed with the chorus from Monster Mash. Just what you need on an August Friday.

Yes, there was a Weatherall remix, and I'll post it soon.

Crying_Blood.mp3 - 4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download

Thursday 5 August 2010

15 Years

15 years ago today, at 3 pm Mrs Swiss and I got married, the best decision I ever made. This was our first dance. Take it away Dusty...

Dusty Springfield - Son Of A Preacher Man.mp3

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Kiss Me

As Drew commented, when I posted the Weatherall mix of Primal Scream's 1990 masterpiece Come Together, 'the Farley mix is none too shabby either'. And he's right, it isn't, with it's gospel backing vocals, Suspicious Minds guitar, rolling backbeat, house pianos, and Bobby's loved up lyric. Well done Terry Farley.

03 Come Together [Farley Mix].wma

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 !

I saw a man yesterday wearing a t-shirt with the slogan '1976 1988 Punk, Hip Hop, Acid House', which seemed like a pretty fair summary of what's been important culturally over the last 34 years. There are and have been writers and commentators more skillful than me to tie these three things together. But there are other parts of my record collection that fall outside these dates that are also important, and Jonathan Richman's Roadrunner is one of them.

Jonathan Richman first recorded it in 1972, as a Velvet Underground obsessed young man who had moved to New York to meet the Velvets and lived on a sofa belonging to one of them for a bit. His Modern Lovers also recorded it, produced by John Cale. Way ahead of their time, the first Modern Lovers lp is one of those punk-before-punk records. Roadrunner was issued as a 7" single in 1977 at the height of British punk, with Roadrunner (Once) on the a-side and Roadrunner (Twice) on the b, and another live version, Roadrunner (Thrice), was on the flip of a later Jonathan Richman single. All three are ace and I can happily play them back to back, although my copy of Thrice is the crackliest piece of vinyl I own. In Lipstick Traces Greil Marcus waxes lyrical about Roadrunner, spending pages just deconstructing the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 introduction. More recently The Guardian's Laura Barton took a road trip around Boston, Massachusetts visiting and passing all the sights mentioned in the song.

Roadrunner is about Richman's hometown, the romance of the road, the sights and sounds inside and outside the car, the joy of late night radio, and the thrill of a song with only two chords (although he sneaks a third one in briefly towards the end). It's massively influential, absurdly good, and doesn't sound like it came from a time before that chap's t-shirt.

'Roadrunner, roadrunner
Going faster miles an hour
Gonna drive past the Stop 'n' Shop
With the radio on'

01 Roadrunner.wma

Majestic Shannon

All went well it seems. He got back on his feet less than four hours after having both knees operated on, and is a bit unsteady, but I swear that boy does not feel pain like the rest of us do.
Hopefully no infection and then we're out of the woods.

Monday 2 August 2010

Gospel, And Rhythm And Blues, And Jazz

Tomorrow I.T., our 11 year old son who has MPS 1 Hurler's Disease, has his umpteenth surgical procedure, and 30 somethingth general anaesthetic. He has to have plates attached to the insides of his kneecaps. With his condition the bone grows too much on the inside, causing him to become increasingly knock-kneed. By plating the inside any remaining bone growth will take place on the outside, hopefully correcting the problem a bit. His skeleton is never going to look 'normal', and he has bits of metal all over the place, always fun when going through metal detectors. The hospital say it's fairly routine and he should be back on his feet within 24 hours, but there's always a risk with surgery and anaesthetic with MPS kids. The upshot is, I may not be posting for a day or two.

This is one of the best records ever made, and I'm hiding in it.

Come Together(Weatherall Mix).mp3

Lights Out

I've returned from a short holiday to find two posts attacked- a DMCA notice and removal for Friendly Ghost by Harlem and the Manics track removed from my Mediafire folder (possibly by Ctel from Acid Ted), so I'm not posting artist's names and song titles as post headings any more, in a cunning bid to foil the DMCA search engine.

Whilst visiting mid-Wales we found out several things. It's very lovely. When it rains, it rains heavily. Aberdovey has a nice beach. Aberystwyth is a great little town, and has many things to do though possibly not 1001. Machynlleth is a funny but great little place, half Welsh speaking, half hippy, left-field community, and is unpronouncable with an English accent. But it does have a record fair, which caused E.T., 7 years old, to say 'here we go again' when I pointed out the signs proclaiming 'Record Fair Here Today' and whooped. Results- the first Scott Walker solo album, 1967 pressing, good nick, £3.99, and the soundtrack to the mucky 70s film Emmanuelle, £3.00. Thought it was worth a shot. Ahem.

I listened to Scott last night, havn't heard it for years since I borrowed it from a friend on cd, and it sent me back to this 1966 Walker Brothers B-side, After The Lights Go Out. A wonderful piece of dramatic 60s pop, with some great lyrical touches that plant it firmly in reality. Cracking song.

Walker Brothers - After The Lights G.mp3

Sunday 1 August 2010

Fun Boy Three 'The Telephone Always Rings'

While driving around mid-Wales for the last few days this song popped up on the in-car entertainment system several times. Totally skewiff and off kilter pop music. I remember reading somewhere that Lynval Golding is the only man on earth who knows how to play it properly, and he isn't telling anyone.
What Terry's wearing in the above photo is anyone's guess.

11 The Telephone Always Rings.mp3

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark 'Electricity' (Factory Version)

First of the month band from The Wirral feature. You don't get this anywhere else.

I never had any time for O.M.D. until the last year or so. Never paid them any attention or time or anything. That silly Sailing On The Seven Seas comeback, Atomic Kitten etc. It changed when I watched the excellent BBC4 Synth Britannia programme last year, and a creeping realisation that O.M.D. where actually electro pioneers. There, I've said it. Some time after a bloke from school pick-up uttered those immortal words 'I've got a box of vinyl I'm getting rid of, do you want to have a look through it?'. Amongst other things I took Architecture And Morality (featuring the ace Enola Gay) and Dazzle Ships (die cut gatefold sleeve). All very good.

Before all of that the only O.M.D. song I've ever owned was on the Factory Records Palatine boxset, and various compilations since, Electricity, FAC 6, later re-recorded for DinDisc and released in three different versions. This is the Factory version with Martin Hannett, which the band disliked as being 'over-produced'. Joy Division said the same about Hannett and Unknown Pleasures. Musicians eh, what do they know?

04 Electricity (Factory Version).wma